Do you think you’re an expert on the English language? You might not need to use spellcheck, but we bet we can surprise you with some details about the English language. It’s confusing and complicated, but it’s ours. We’ve put together some interesting facts you can use to pull out at cocktail parties and trivia nights. Read on for more fun facts about the English language.
A complete sentence contains a subject and a verb. If you have these two parts of speech, you have a complete thought. Therefore, the shortest sentence you can create in English is the short and sweet, “I am.” How very philosophical of you.
Lots of words are borrowed from other languages, but even the building blocks have to come from somewhere. The word alphabet comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha and beta.
Language is always evolving and growing and technology words are no exception. The “spam” in your junk email folder comes from a Monty Python skit. A couple asks a waitress what’s being served and she replies, “Well we have eggs and Spam, eggs, bacon, and Spam, eggs, sausage, bacon, and Spam, eggs, Spam, sausage, Spam, Spam, bacon, Spam, eggs and Spam, Spam, spinach and Spam.” A computer programmer thought the flood of emails reminded him of this skit, and the spam in your inbox was born.
You’ve probably seen the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog” before, but did you know why this sentence is so special? It uses every single letter of the alphabet! For this reason, it’s popularly used to test different fonts or when testing keyboards, because you will hit every key at least once. This sentence is also known as a pangram.
The ACTUAL longest word in the English language is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, and it refers to a type of lung disease caused by inhaling ash and dust. Try to sing that one, Mary Poppins.
Even dictionaries need copy editors. Sometimes a word makes it into the dictionary for one reason or another, but it doesn’t actually mean anything. These words are called ghost words.The nonexistent word “dord” appeared in the dictionary for eight years in the mid-20th century.
But it can help you out anyway. Crutch words are words that we use frequently, but give no added value to your sentence. They include words such as like, honestly, basically and literally.
Here’s a fun trick: look at the word SWIMS. Turn your head upside down. It still spells SWIMS! Impress the little kid in your life by teaching them about these words called ambigrams.
English is the language of the skies. That means all pilots have to identify themselves and speak in English while talking to air traffic control, no matter what their country of origin.
Remember that language evolves. In this case, girl used to be genderless. It simply meant child, regardless of gender. At some point boys got tired of being lumped in with girls and we got the separation of boys and girls.